Monday, February 16, 2009

The Versatile Eggplant

February calls for hearty meals. There's nothing that fits this requirement than the eggplant. You can cook it a variety of ways, from breaded to stir fried. It's easy to prepare and easy to use. Anyone, from foodie novice to seasoned gourmand can create a tasty dish with it.

Surprisingly enough eggplant has been around since prehistoric times. it was probably one of the first veggies primitive man ate. This cousin of belladonna or deadly nightshade had its' or gins in India and China. It has been written about since the 5th century ACE. It didn't take hold in European households until the Moor s introduced to Spain and Italians trade with the Middle East. The French loved it grilled while Italians made it stuffed or breaded. Even though Americans were leery of this vegetable, President Andrew Jackson loved Spanish style stuffed eggplant and frequently requested it for its' dinner. The great playwright and vegetarian George Bernard Shaw integrated eggplant into his diet as much as possible enjoying an eggplant au gratin.

Eggplants have changed since their early days when they actually resembled swan's eggs. There are many kind s including a seedless Sicilian, Listada di Gandia along with some Asian varieties For a hearty winter dish , think of ratatouille, full of cube d eggplant mingling with tomatoes and onions in a rich vegetable broth.My German great grandparents and grandfather loved making it breaded and calling it poor man's oysters ( I guess it tastes like them). For a healthier alternative stir fry eggplant in garlic and oil and serve with brown rice. Eggplant is a good anti coagulant. It's perfect for reducing the risk of strokes as well as liver problems.

This winter use eggplant to create a hearty flavorful meal. They are wonderful anyway you cook them and provide some good eating too. Pick up a few for your cold weather recipes.

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